THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1977)
Article 4998 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Kenneth Johnson
Featuring Bill Bixby, Susan Sullivan, Jack Colvin
What it is: Superhero TV pilot
A scientist discovers the secrets behind what causes otherwise normal people to perform amazing feats of strength in stressful situations. He experiments on himself by dosing himself with gamma rays, but he uses far more than he was aware. His anger then transforms him into an extremely powerful but uncontrollable green giant.
I’ve encountered this TV series adaptation of the Marvel superhero once before when I covered the second pilot for the series, DEATH IN THE FAMILY. That one gave a better idea of what the series would be like as a going affair; this is the one that sets up the details of the premise and provides the “fairy dust” of how David Banner gained the ability to change into the Incredible Hulk. It’s quite well done; it compensates for the fact that it can’t afford to be a real special effects extravaganza by concentrating on the human stories of the characters, and it is well directed and edited. It’s an origin story, of course, and as such, it gets a little dull when it spends too much time on the details of the “fairy dust”, but I like the way it fives Dr. Banner a real motivation for his research by anchoring it in a personal tragedy at the beginning of the movie. It’s a solid intro to the series.